Dr. Jill Weimer
Sioux Falls, SD
Jill Weimer received her BS and PhD from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, followed by postdoctoral training at the Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. In 2005 she joined the Children’s Health Research Center at Sanford rising through the ranks as an Assistant Scientist and now Scientist and Associated Director.
In addition to her “day job” as a scientist, Dr. Weimer is heavily invested in STEM education. She is the founder of the Sanford PROMISE (Program for the Midwest Initiative in Science Exploration) and of the It’s All About Science Festival – programs that collectively impact over 15,000 K-12 students annually.
As Lake Area Tech’s Aviation Maintenance Technician program supervisor, Greg not only shares his extensive knowledge in aviation maintenance, but also his knowledge of technology on the subject of drones. His unique perspective as an instructor with a military background and pilot offers an extraordinary viewpoint into the subject.
Greg earned his Airframe and Powerplant certificate at Lake Area Tech before entering the United States Air Force, where he worked as an aircraft maintenance technician. Greg continues to stay up-to-date with his certifications and pilot’s license and thoroughly enjoys sharing his knowledge with his students.
Jack Holmquest’s professional mission is …to be an effective, faithful servant as a teacher. He is fulfilling that mission through his work as a life-long educator at the high school and post-secondary level. Jack is an instructor at Lake Area Technical Institute where he shares his talent teaching speech, professional writing, technical reading, and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the staff at Lake Area Tech, Jack taught high school English, speech, and debate in the Watertown and Huron school districts. Over the years, he’s been recognized for his passion with accolades including the Triple Diamond debate coaching award, Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Young Speech Teacher, and SD Teacher of the Year.
Jack has authored books, articles, and presentations for educational organizations and workshops. He’s also been involved in teacher negotiations and has been an active officer and member of countless professional associations.
Jennifer Thomas is the author of three published books and has also contributed to several other publications. Her articles have been featured in The Washington Times and Yahoo! News, among others. She has taught poetry workshops in four states.
Jennifer is a survivor of domestic abuse and a very vocal advocate for domestic abuse awareness and prevention. She believes strongly in the power of art and creativity to overcome any difficult circumstance. She is an animal lover and lives with her family on a small hobby farm where they raise goats and chickens. She has also fostered animals in the past. She finally learned to parallel park last week, at the age of 30. (She says, “You have no idea how proud I am of that!”)
Karen spent 15 years at Watertown High School as a counselor before assuming an adjunct position at Lake Area Tech in 2005. Karen’s professional accomplishments include expertise the fields of Leadership and Personal Development, topics that will be addressed in her speaking presentation at TEDxLATI.
Karen earned a Master’s degree in Counseling and a Bachelor of Science degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings.
awrence Diggs brings a broad vision developed from traveling every continent except the Antarctic. He has hosted his own shows on radio and television in the United States, Europe and Asia. In Japan, he studied Asian medicine with a Buddhist monk, founded the Shonai Jazz Festival, helped start and served two terms as vice president of the Shonai International Youth Festival and promoted South Dakota Beef and led a delegation to Japan to market South Dakota produce. In Burkina Faso he set up the first emergency medical response system. He received a Medal of Honor with two gold stars and a Bronze Stallion for that work. He has written and published five books. By erasing the imaginary lines of “race” that separated me from people, I have been able to create a worldwide network of friends and family. This network has enabled me to enjoy a life of adventure unimaginable to most people.
Melissa Goodwin is a published author on the topic of creativity, she is a Bush Foundation Community Leadership Fellow, an entrepreneur, and Design Thinking Practitioner.
Shawna Conrad is a student in Lake Area Tech’s Cosmetology program. In addition to attending school, Shawna owns and manages a successful Mary Kay business. Shawna will share her passion through her TEDxLATI presentation, “Thank God it’s Monday.”
Shawna has been recognized on Lake Area Technical Institute’s President’s List for academic achievement. She is also a prepared public speaking national competitor for FFA, and she is the author of her blog, “Going the Second Mile.”
Stephanie Spaan is the owner and founder of Excel Achievement Center, wrote the book “Unlocking the Genius Within Your Child and You,” (pen name Stephanie Shawn), co-wrote the Read:IT curriculum—a Kindergarten to 5th grade full reading and spelling curriculum, and she is a board member of the International Dyslexia Association—Upper Midwest Branch.
Her greatest personal accomplishments are her two children, ages 20 and 14. Her oldest son, Colten, is a pre-med student at Washington University in St. Louis Missouri, and her youngest son, Parker, is a successful eighth grade student and athlete. Both are the joy of my life.